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Civil War. Railroads are attacked!. Tennessee is divided into 3 regions. WEST. MIDDLE. EAST. During the Civil War Railroads were destroyed in East Tennessee. Tennessee is located between the border state of Kentucky and the Confederate states of.

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civil war

Civil War

Railroads are attacked!

tennessee is located between the border state of kentucky and the confederate states of
Tennessee is located between the border state of Kentucky and the Confederate states of

Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South and North Carolina.


Railroads in 1861 were located all over East Tennessee. These railroads were used to move supplies, troops, and people. During the Civil War railroads were essential to the survival of the Confederate army.

burning the bridges
Burning the Bridges
  • On November 8, 1861 the Union army decided to overtake the Confederate army by destroying the railroad bridges in East Tennessee.
  • Two bridges in Marion County, one on the Hiwassee River, and one on Chickamauga Creek were quickly burned.
The Loudon and Bridgeport bridges were heavily guarded, so the Union decided to leave them alone.
Colonel Danville Leadbetter and the Confederates captured the men who burned the bridges. Two were tried and hanged in Greenville, Tennessee near the train depot. Their names were
  • Henry Fry
  • Jacob Madison Hinshaw
The other three were captured and hanged in Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • They were
  • Jacob and Henry Harmon (father and son)
  • C.A. Haun
bridge burners honored
Bridge Burners Honored "
  • One hundred and thirty-five years after the five "Pottertown" "Bridge-Burners" were hanged, the Tennessee Historical Commission voted to erect a historic marker near the old "Pottertown" settlement, in honor of the five men, who gave their lives for the Union cause, in the first months of the Civil War.
carter s raid
Carter’s Raid
  • Late in December 1861 the Railroads were destroyed by General Samuel P. Carter’s Union army.
  • The unit with Carter’s brother James as a division leader destroyed three sections of the East Tennessee Railroad.
the railroad sections that were destroyed in east tennessee were called
The railroad sections that were destroyed in East Tennessee were called
  • Blountville
  • Union (Bluff City)
  • Carter’s Depot
what you will see next
What you will see next:
  • Historical letters or notes from President Abraham Lincoln and the Union leaders.

Union army Brigadier General S. P. CARTER, one of the organizers of the bridge-burning plot, sent the following message to Brigadier General George H. Thomas in Danville, Kentucky, on November 24, 1861:

"We have arrivals every day from East Tennessee. The condition of affairs there is sad beyond description and if the Loyal people who love and cling to the Government are not soon relieved they will be lost. "

Union army Major General GEORGE B. MC CLELLAN pointedly tried to prod Brigadier General D. C. Buell into moving into East Tennessee, to fulfill the commitment that had been made. On November 27, 1861, McClellan sent the following dispatch to Buell:

       ”What is the reason for concentration of troops at Louisville? I urge movement at once on Eastern Tennessee unless it is impossible. No letter from you for several days. Reply. I still trust to your judgment though urging my own views. "
On November 29th, MC CLELLAN again contacted Buell in another dispatch which read:" I think we owe it to our Union friends in Eastern Tennessee to protect them at all hazards. First secure that; then if you possess the means carry Nashville."
  • Again, on December 3rd, MC CLELLAN writes Buell: "If you gain and retain possession of Eastern Tennessee you will have won brighter laurels than any I hope to gain."
  • On December 7th, ANDREW JOHNSON and HORACE MAYNARD sent a joint communication to General Buell, which implored: "Our people are oppressed and pursued as beasts of the forest. The Government must come to their relief. We are looking to you with anxious solicitude to move in that direction. "

WASHINGTON, January 4, 1862 General BUELL:Have arms gone forward for East Tennessee? Please tell me the progress and condition of the movement in that direction. ANSWER.        A. LINCOLN

  • The following reply from BUELL to Lincoln........... the absolute futility which the East Tennessee bridge-burners were faced with from the beginning.........only they were not aware of it!!
louisville ky january 5 1862 to the president
  • Arms can only go forward for East Tennessee under the protection of an army. My organization of the troops has had in view two columns with reference to that movement: a division to move from Lebanon, and a brigade to operate offensively or defensively according to circumstances on the Cumberland Gap route. *
While my preparations have had this movement constantly in view I will confess to your excellency that I have been bound to it more by sympathy for the people of East Tennessee and the anxiety with which you and the general-in-chief have desired it than by my opinion of its wisdom as an unconditional measure.
As earnestly as I wish to accompolish it my judgment has from the first been decidedly against it if it should render at all doubtful the success of a movement against the great power of the rebellion in the West which is mainly arrayed on the line from Columbus to Bowling Green and can speedily be concentrated at any point of that line which is attacked singly.


lincoln s reply executive mansion washington january 6 1862
LINCOLN'S reply:EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, January 6, 1862
  • Brigadier-General BUELL:MY DEAR SIR: Your dispatch of yesterday has been received and it disappoints and distresses me. *    *   *   My distress is that our friends in East Tennessee are being hanged and driven to despair and even now I fear are thinking of taking rebel arms for the sake of personal protection. In this we lose the most valuable stake we have in the South.
My dispatch to which yours is an answer was sent with the knowledge of Senator Johnson and Representative Maynard of East Tennessee and they will be upon me to know the answer which I cannot safely show them. They would despair; possibly resign to go and save their families somehow or die with them.I do not intend this to be an order in any sense but merely as intimated before to show you the grounds of my anxiety.        Yours very truly,